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Bruce Willis Sells His Face [Updated]

The actor is retiring following his aphasia diagnosis, but his likeness will live on via AI after he sold the rights to it to a deepfake company.

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Deepfake technology was previously used to insert Willis into a Russian phone commercial in 2021.
Deepfake technology was previously used to insert Willis into a Russian phone commercial in 2021.
Image: Rich Fury (Getty Images)

Bruce Willis is selling his face. The veteran actor has agreed to sell the rights to his likeness so a digital twin can be created using deepfake technology. Willis previously announced his retirement from acting following an aphasia diagnosis.

While movies have used deepfake technology to create digital versions of actors before, Bruce Willis has become one of the first actors to formally sell the rights to his own AI-generated recreation in perpetuity. The actor has partnered with Deepcake, a company specializing in artificial intelligence that will create Willis’ digital twin, who will appear in films after his retirement due to the cognitive disorder, which affects a person’s ability to communicate.

From the overworked visual effects artists that make our favorite movies to the almost-correct black hole simulation featured in Interstellar, movies are able to push the boundaries of filmmaking with more and more advanced technology. In a statement published on Deepcake’s website, Willis said:

I liked the precision of my character. It’s a great opportunity for me to go back in time. The neural network was trained on content of ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Fifth Element,’ so my character is similar to the images of that time. With the advent of the modern technology, I could communicate, work and participate in filming, even being on another continent. It’s a brand new and interesting experience for me, and I am grateful to our team.

Deepcake Demo

Deepcake did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment, but Willis has previously collaborated with the company on a Russian phone commercial in 2021 that featured the actor put onscreen via AI. Despite these rumors, Willis’ representatives stated that the actor did not sell his likeness, telling the Hollywood Reporter that he “has no partnership or agreement with this Deepcake company.”

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Willis is not the only star in Hollywood that has surrendered their likeness to AI. James Earl Jones announced his retirement from playing Darth Vader in future Star Wars franchise installments, and sold his voice to Respeecher, a Ukrainian AI company that creates dialogue using archival video.

Update October 3 9:40 am: This article was updated to include a report from The Hollywood Reporter in which Willis’ representatives deny that the actor has an agreement with Deepcake.